MADRID Jan 29 Spain said on Tuesday it beat
revenue targets for 2012 as tax hikes offset a shrinking
economy, and repeated its commitment to cut spending even as
Europe said it may give the country more time to trim its
deficit due to the recession.
The Spanish central government's non-financial revenue,
after transfers to regional governments, was 123 billion euros
($166 billion) last year, more than the 119 billion euros
targeted in the 2012 budget, Treasury Minister Cristobal Montoro
said at a news conference.
Measures taken by the government meant that tax revenue had
recovered from a steep fall between 2007 and 2009 when Spain
began its ongoing economic crisis after the bottom fell out of
the housing market, he said.
Despite a recession, flagging consumer spending and 26
percent unemployment, tax revenue rose by 11 billion euros in
2012 compared with 2011, due to higher value-added tax (VAT),
income tax and corporate tax.
Corporate tax revenue rose more than 29 percent in 2012 from
2011, the minister said.
The likelihood of a sovereign bail-out for Spain is
receeding since the European Central Bank said it would act as a
backstop to bets against the euro, lessening borrowing costs for
Europe's fourth-largest economy.
On Monday, the European Union's Economic and Monetary
Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said fiscal targets could be
pushed further out if the economy was found to have worsened,
while praising Spain's efforts to cut its deficit.
Spain has already been given an extra year, until 2014, to
meet Europe-agreed goals of a deficit of under 3 percent of
gross domestic product.
The government has cut billions of euros of spending across
the board, even in politically sensitive areas like education